Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Director, Program on Science, Technology and Society, Harvard Kennedy School, "Ethical Futures: Imagination and Governance in an Unequal World"
Abstract: Can we responsibly design a future that does not connect to its pasts? Can we govern a future that we cannot imagine? As technology becomes the most powerful instrument for shaping the human future, these questions have assumed greater importance for moral engagement and analysis. Using examples such as nuclear risk, assisted reproduction, and agricultural biotechnology, I will show that choices of how to live with technology are shaped and constrained by prior, institutionalized visions of the public good. New and emerging technologies, reflecting longstanding socioeconomic disparities among human societies, threaten to override such cross-cultural variations in moral imagination and associated norms of democratic self-governance. How should global societies respond to that challenge? Contemporary debates around gene editing, especially of the human germline, offer an opportunity for further reflection on this point.